These American dream quotes will inspire you to achieve your own version of success, regardless of what your background is.
It seems like everyone you ask has an opinion on the American dream, but the idea actually has a lot of different meanings for different people. Historians, authors, and philosophers have written endlessly about the American dream, and politicians frequently use the term to convince people of their beliefs.
So what does the American Dream really mean?
To some, the American dream represents achieving wealth and prosperity. A college education and home ownership can also be symbols of the American dream. For others, the American dream may be more about freedom, raising a family, or building your own business.
Finally, a major component of the American dream for many people is the value of diversity and inclusion, as generations of immigrants have helped build the nation. As you read along, these American dream quotes will inspire you and open your eyes up to what the American dream actually is.
Also check out our list of inspirational Good Will Hunting quotes that will motivate you to realize your potential.
American Dream Quotes to Push You Towards Success
1. “The American dream belongs to all of us.” – Kamala Harris
2. “The American Dream is one of success, home ownership, college education for one’s children, and have a secure job to provide these and other goals.” – Leonard Boswell
3. “For me, the essence of the great American Dream is spiritual. I believe that our Constitution is inspired and that it is based on principles that are timeless and universal. This is the reason why 95% of all written constitutions throughout the world are modeled after our Constitution.” – Stephen Covey
4. “I’m very pro-American – my entire family escaped poverty in Italy because they rightly believed in the American dream.” – Camille Paglia
5. “What is the American dream? The American dream is one big tent. One big tent. And on that big tent you have four basic promises: equal protection under the law, equal opportunity, equal access, and fair share.” – Jesse Jackson
6. “To me, the American Dream is being able to follow your own personal calling. To be able to do what you want to do is incredible freedom.” – Maya Lin
7. “As an educator, I have always striven to see that the fruits of the American Dream are available to all.” – James D. Watson
8. “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” – James Truslow Adams
9. “A basic element of the American dream is equal access to education as a lubricant of social and economic mobility.” – Nicholas Kristof
10. “The promise of the American Dream requires that we are all provided an equal opportunity to participate in and contribute to our nation.” –Charles B. Rangel
11. “To realize the American Dream, the most important thing to understand is that it belongs to everybody. It’s a human dream. If you understand this and work very hard, it is possible.” – Cristina Saralegui
12. “America is not just a country, it’s an idea.” – Bono
13. “They don’t call it the Italian Dream or the English Dream. In America, there is the American Dream. It was the first place to give people of any social background their dream. You can achieve anything.” – Fabio Lanzoni
14. “I define the American dream as the ability to imagine a way that you want your life to turn out, and have a reasonable hope that you can achieve that.” – David Henry Hwang
15. “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” – Harry S. Truman
Also read these powerful V for Vendetta quotes will inspire you to stand up and fight for the things that you believe in.
American Dream Quotes On Building Yourself Up From Nothing
16. “I grew up with a single pair of shoes until I grew into the next size. My parents believed in the American dream and the power of education but didn’t have the money to send me to college. I realized early on that I needed to go against the flow and be better than everyone else to support my family.” – Julie Sweet
17. “If America had a motto, it would be pull yourself up by the bootstraps, work harder than the next guy, have a goal and achieve it.” – John Lee Hancock
18. “Only in America can someone start with nothing and achieve the American Dream. That’s the greatness of this country.” – Rafael Cruz
19. “So, then, to every man his chance–to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining, golden opportunity–to every man the right to live, to work, to be himself, and to become whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him–this, seeker, is the promise of America.” – Thomas Wolfe
20. “The American Dream is that any man or woman, despite of his or her background, can change their circumstances and rise as high as they are willing to work.” – Fabrizio Moreira
21. “I am the American Dream. I am the epitome of what the American Dream basically said. It said you could come from anywhere and be anything you want in this country. That’s exactly what I’ve done.” – Whoopi Goldberg
22. “The faith that anyone could move from rags to riches – with enough guts and gumption, hard work and nose to the grindstone – was once at the core of the American Dream.” – Robert Reich
23. “If you have the ability to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and start over, you come out stronger because you learn from whatever mistakes you made.” – Abby Lee Miller
24. “The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive and passion, it’s possible to achieve the American dream.” – Tommy Hilfiger
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of passion quotes expressing the love of things you’re interested in.
25. “I think the American Dream says that anything can happen if you work hard enough at it and are persistent, and have some ability. The sky is the limit to what you can build, and what can happen to you and your family.” – Sanford I. Weill
26. “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” – Vince Lombardi
American Dream Quotes On How Dreams Come True
27. “If your determination is fixed, I do not counsel you to despair. Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.” – Samuel Johnson
28. “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” – Jesse Owens
29. “My own American Dream was to serve my country as best I could and make a difference in America – and in the world.” – Buzz Aldrin
30. “I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
31. “American Dreams are strongest in the hearts of those who have seen America only in their dreams.” – Pico Iyer
32. “I really have the American dream licked.” – Ted Nugent
33. “I lived the true American dream, because I was able to pursue what I set as my goals at a very young age.” – Mario Andretti
34. “We represent a hustler. I think we represent inspiration. I think we represent, you know, staying down. I think we represent building yourself up from the bootstraps.” – Nipsey Hussle
35. “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” – Colin Powell
36. “If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown
37. “Everyone must have a shot at the American Dream.” – Howard Schultz
38. “I’m in a weird band. We’ve done very well. The American Dream is alive and well.” – Gene Simmons
39. “I love the American dream. I feel this is the place I was supposed to be in. It’s beautiful. I love it.” – Immaculee Ilibagiza
40. “The American dream has always been about chasing opportunity and pursuing a brighter future for ourselves and our children.” – Jay Inslee
41. “When it comes to the American dream, no one has a corner on the market. All of us have an equal chance to share in that dream.” – J. C. Watts
42. “I’ve been living the American Dream for over 25 years – just being able to do what I do, be creative, and make money out of it. It’s incredible.” – Dr. Dre
Don’t forget to also read these mindset quotes that will set you up for success.
Quotes About How the American Dream Has Changed
43. “I have spent my life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream.” – Bruce Springsteen
44. “If there is still an American dream, reading is one of the bootstraps by which we can all pull ourselves up.” – Karin Slaughter
45. “The American dream, what we were taught was, grow up, own a car, own a house. I think that dream’s completely changing. We were taught to keep up with the Joneses. Now we’re sharing with the Joneses.” – Brian Chesky
46. “If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.” – George Monbiot
47. “Americans need a fresh reminder of the amazing nation they have and the power of liberties I see so often taken for granted.” – Ali Master
48. “It’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.” – George Carlin
49. “Seeking the invisible through the imagery of the visible, the Americans never can get quite all the way to the end of the American dream.” – Lewis H. Lapham
50. “We need to forge a whole new energy and American Dream.” – Will.i.am
51. “I live in the suburbs, the final battleground of the American dream, where people get married and have kids and try to scratch out a happy life for themselves.” – Harlan Coben
52. “I don’t want people who are in poverty, in pain, or suffering, to suffer because it’s for their own good and they can pull themselves up by their bootstraps. I want to help them. I want us all to help them.” – Penn Jillette
53. “Our workforce and our entire economy are strongest when we embrace diversity to its fullest, and that means opening doors of opportunity to everyone and recognizing that the American Dream excludes no one.” – Thomas Perez
54. “There are those, I know, who will reply that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream. They are right. It is. It is the American Dream.” – Archibald MacLeish
55. “The American Dream may be slipping away. We have overcome such challenges before. To recover the Dream requires knowing where it came from, how it lasted so long and why it matters so much.” – Jon Meacham
56. “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody – a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns – bent down and helped us pick up our boots.” – Thurgood Marshall (see more Thurgood Marshall quotes)
57. “I really love stand-up. I’m more than happy to do it for nothing. I’ve come to America to do it for nothing. It’s the American Dream: Work for free.” – John Oliver
58. “The American Dream is a phrase we’ll have to wrestle with all of our lives. It means a lot of things to different people. I think we’re redefining it now.” – Rita Dove
59. “America is not so much a nightmare as a non-dream. The American non-dream is precisely a move to wipe the dream out of existence. The dream is a spontaneous happening and therefore dangerous to a control system set up by the non-dreamers.” – William S. Burroughs
More American dream quotes
60. “We believe in the American Dream, not in the socialist nightmare.” – Donald Trump
61. “He was going to get the American Dream that even Americans dream about.” – Nicola Yoon
62. “The American Dream was just then beginning to be defined by wealth at the expense of exploitable natural resources.” – Tammy Horn
63. “The Chinese dream is an American dream embedded in a Confucian cocoon.” – Patrick Mendis
64. “America is big enough to accommodate all their dreams.” – Barack Obama
65. “The American dream is what has kept Americans from rebelling against corporate corruption. Now that 2/3 of us know it’s dead, expect anything.” – Ziad K. Abdelnour
66. “The American Dream is a constant reminder that America’s true nature and distinctive grandeur is in promising the common man, the man on the make, a better chance to succeed here than common men enjoy anywhere else on earth.” – Cal Jillson
67. “The American Dream is not the nation’s promise of opportunity based on one’s ability and hard work alone. Instead, it is the uniquely American ability to believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the nation will one day be willing to offer such an opportunity. Today, however, was not that day.” – Blair Bronwyn
68. “What America explores today, the world explores a decade later.” – Abhijit Naskar
Can you still pull yourself up by your bootstraps and achieve the American Dream?
As you might have noticed from these American dream quotes, many people feel that the economy and politics of America no longer allow everyone the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. Others still believe that America is the land of opportunity that it always was promised to be.
Some people think that the American Dream does live on, but its meaning has changed. Instead of focusing on individual success, their new definition of the American Dream is about taking care of others and sharing so that all Americans can enjoy greater prosperity and happiness. Whatever the American Dream means to you, you can take your first step today toward making it come true.
What’s your biggest takeaway from these American dream quotes and sayings? Do you have any other favorite quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.
March 4, 2021 6:00 AM EST